Catching up Over Cantonese
After nearly a month spent catching our breath in Bali, we were ready and anxious to embrace the invigorating energy of Hong Kong, Asia’s World City. A favorite for Trey and an undiscovered destination for Martin, we were looking forward to seeing friends and sinking our teeth into the traditional Cantonese cuisine of the world’s most visited city, according to a recent Euromonitor report. This vibrant metropolis captured Trey’s imagination during his years of business travel, when he especially enjoyed the diverse flavours, fashionable shopping and soaring skyscrapers, taking in the city by simply looking up.
As we began our descent, we both agreed that Hong Kong is certainly one of the most dramatic cities into which to fly. With its jagged, mountainous terrain that gives way to the South China Sea where small green islands dot the shimmering, reflective waters, the towers and high-rises of Hong Kong's skyline slowly revealed themselves as our plane made its final approach. The journey from the airport to our hotel on Hong Kong Island was delightfully easy with the city's seamless Airport Express – begging the question why arrival and city transfer in other world capitals (we're looking at you, New York) is such a migraine?
With only a few short days in Hong Kong, and being fortunate to have several friends to visit, we wasted no time our first evening, heading to the very traditional Lin Heung Teahouse* for scrumptious roast goose, crispy pork and red bean pudding.
The next morning, we charged up (and cooled down) with some Iced Americanos at Winston’s, a local watering hole in the emerging neighborhood of East Hong Kong where we stayed. Ready to face the heat, we made our way to the Star Ferry terminal via charming Harbour park and marveled at how many people were willingly running and exercising in the steam-room quality air. We took the quick ferry (another simple and cheap mode of transport) from Hong Kong Island to mainland Kowloon, reveling in the beauty of Victoria Harbour, which boasts one of the most stunning skylines in the world. In Kowloon, we made a b-line for Hong Kong's outpost of Eslite bookstore where we spent the better part of the morning enjoying the peace, quiet and simple design of the Taiwanese import.
For lunch, we headed back to Hong Kong Island and its trendy Wan Chan neighborhood where we met up with Trey’s HK-based friends, Angus and JJ, who deciding that we’d been away from the Big Apple long enough, treated us to tasty deli fare at Morty’s Delicatessen. Post-lunch, we grabbed cold brew coffees at Elephant Grounds (both of these establishments JJ had designed; check out his take on Asia's art and design worlds on wanderlister.com), and then we spent the rest of the afternoon shopping the boutiques and galleries of the hip hood. As the sun began to slide into the Harbour, we toasted our cheery catch-up from the sky-high bar of ultra-modern Upper House. Rushing from one glam spot to another, we reunited with Nik, our Bali travel buddy who happened to be in town for work, as well as Trey’s friend and former colleague, Alethea, and her friend, Andy, for a gorgeous dinner at Mott 32 where crispy duck and lobster dumplings were stars of the exquisite meal.
We began our next morning like locals by eating with long-time Hong Kong residents at the very hole-in-the-wall Sam Hui Yat dim sum restaurant* around the corner from our hotel. We enjoyed some gluten-free lo mai gai, and Martin tried the pork and veggie dim sum with recommendations by some very helpful regulars. Our afternoon of exploring the city with Nik left us very hungry, so we made our way to Mak’s Noodles for their famed pork brisket noodles.
Because "when in Hong Kong," we soon after decided to have an early dinner at a typical Chinese diner, Tsui Wah, where we ate pork chop on instant noodles, steamed and chilled okra with wasabi dipping sauce and Martin tried Hong Kong’s local specialty, sweet bread (condensed milk on buttered toast). After our feasting, we made our way back over to Kowloon to enjoy the renowned Hong Kong light show in which the city’s towers seemingly come to life under the night sky. After the lasers and flashing lights and to cap off our weekend in Hong Kong, we further indulged, this time with varieties of puddings at Dream Tofa, as we said our goodbyes to this glittering vertical city.
Our time in Hong Kong was short but truly delicious and memorable. We can’t wait to come back to see old friends again and continue to eat our way through the Cantonese cuisine of this world city!
* Migrationology recommended; One of our favorite travel bloggers.